Book Excerpt – “Letting Go and Moving Forward,” From – If Only It Were a Piece of Cake

Letting Go and Moving Forward

With school starting, parents dropping their sons and daughters off at college, young people beginning their first jobs, and empty nest transitions of no more preschoolers in the nest during the day, or kids living under the parents’ roof at all anymore, there’s a lot of LETTING GO and MOVING FORWARD happening this time of year.

Here is an excerpt from my book, If Only It Were a Piece of Cake, that deals with that very topic!

An excerpt from chapter eight, “Letting Go and Moving Forward”


There’s a difference between moving on, and moving forward. Not to brag or anything, but I’m in the company of Albert Einstein with this thought (this sentence may be the only time I’m mentioned with Einstein. Savor it.)

He said,

“It is the same with people as it is with riding a bike. Only when moving can one comfortably maintain one’s balance.”

Moving forward indicates you’ve already been somewhere, and by moving, you’re continuing the journey. It doesn’t mean the past is forgotten, but that you’re now moving forward from it.

Moving on sounds a bit more like you’re leaving the past behind. You’ve finished the delivery, you’ve made the stop, you’ve completed the task. Now you move on and forget. This is fine if you’re a pizza delivery person, but as a general rule, we can’t just expect to move on to the next stop in life and forget everything else.

We cannot deny that the past happened. We should not deny the good or the bad. The past, the stages and seasons we loved and lived, are always going to be a part of us! The stages and seasons we loathed are too. That’s okay. We shouldn’t move on from them, but move forward in spite of them, through them, with them.

I often call to mind 1 Corinthians 4:16-18 in times of change and letting go. It reads,

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Yes, this passage is about dealing with hardships, but also about change and letting go. You see, as we live, we are “wasting away.” Each day we are moving closer to the end of this earthly life. But inwardly, those of us who are in Christ are being “renewed day by day.”

This renewal is a process. It’s preparing us for eternity and shaping us to be more like Christ on this Earth. We can’t always detect the process or see the change, but it’s happening. Our bicycle wheels are barely spinning, but it’s enough to keep us upright.

Being renewed each day by Jesus requires letting go of what we were yesterday. Not denying it happened, but moving forward anyway.

A sweet little girl, a friend of our daughters, was learning to water ski last summer. I sat in the boat with my girls and our friends, who were driving and shouting out instructions to the little girl. My husband was in the water trying to help her get her skis on and learn how to hold the rope.

And she did it! She got up on the skis and took a long ride around the lake. In fact, a very long ride. I realized we had not clearly explained that she only needed to let go of the rope when she’d finished. Simply let go. But we didn’t make this clear to her, and so, she never did. She skied on and on. After awhile, her little body bent forward at the hips and she looked exhausted.

“You can let go!” her aunt yelled from the boat.

“Do you want to let go of the rope?” my girls yelled as they made a motion with their own hands of dropping the handle.

She wasn’t understanding, and so she skied on, looking as if she were about to break in half.

Her uncle, the boat driver, wasn’t sure if he should stop the boat because we weren’t positive if she wanted to be done, and getting up again would be hard work. So she just kept on going.

Finally, we looped back around to our shoreline and stopped. She fell slowly into the water, still not letting go of the rope until she was forced to by the plunge.

“My back hurts! I’m so tired!” she said.

We all laughed. She could have stopped long ago if she would have just let go of the rope.

I get it, girl!

Sometimes I want to move forward into a new season, and I know it will be exciting once I get there, but I just don’t want to let go of the rope. I’m comfortable where I am. I’m not sure how the transition will feel. I like the way things are going now. Even if my back hurts and I’m tired of the fight, I’d rather hold on and be safe then let go into the unknown.

It’s not just about the unknown. Sometimes it’s about the sadness I feel that a particular stage is ending. I’ve loved it so much, whether it be having preschoolers at home, or working outside the home, or watching my children compete in a sport that they have now finished, that I don’t want to face the sadness by letting go of the rope.

But facing the sadness offers the chance for joy in remembering, and anticipation of what’s ahead. Just as looking grief in the eyes helps bring healing, admitting the sadness of leaving a season of life helps us to move forward with it. When we face the sadness, we also acknowledge the goodness of that particular season, and then hopefully that turns into gratitude that it happened!

As Dr. Seuss says,

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

I say, if you want to cry too, that’s okay. Cry, laugh, remember, grieve, and then move forward. And if you need to cry, laugh, remember, grieve, and move forward again later this afternoon, that’s okay. This isn’t a one-time deal. You may have to let go of the rope multiple times. You may not realize you’ve grabbed hold of it once again.

Letting go is a process. It’s a healthy and natural process at that.

As I said in the Chronological Change chapter, Genesis 1 shows us that God created the seasons and time on the fourth day of creation. (Genesis 1:14) They were part of the original creation, before the fall, when sin entered the world. A part of the original design. So, this tells me that even if sin and death never entered this world, seasons and time still would have existed. Now, they would have been different in the sense that they would not have led to death, as time does for us now, but they would have still been part of creation. Seasons still would have been a beautiful framework by which to live, and this encourages me.

We see cycles in life when one season begins, and another one ends. When the leaves fall off the trees, they yield to winter. When the snow melts and the flower bloom, winter yields to spring. And so forth. If we’re still holding on and trying to live in the fall, we’re going to miss every other season.

Letting go is part of living.

I always remind myself that the alternative to letting go and moving forward is holding on and stagnating. Stagnant is never a positive word, is it? Nobody desires to drink from a stagnant pond that is holding on to its growths. Instead, we want to drink from a babbling stream that is moving, and fresh, and purified. Jesus didn’t call Himself  “Stagnant Water,” but “Living Water.” (John 7:38) Stagnating and holding on to the past doesn’t seem appealing anymore, does it?

So how do we let go of the rope?

We process the journey, remember the moments, grieve the loss, move forward. Process, remember, grieve, move forward.

Opening our grip and releasing the rope frees our hands to grab the present in front of us. 

When we’re free to move forward and live in the present, we’re ready to open the front door and usher in life, with all of its opportunities.

We shouldn’t put it off any longer.


For more, you can find If Only It Were a Piece of Cake on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1091280215/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

 

It’s My Book’s Birthday!

Today, after three years of labor, my book has been born! (Phew!)

I’m so excited to announce that my first book, Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels, is now available on Amazon in paperback, and for the Kindle.

You can find it here:

 

Also, I had a book trailer made to give everyone a short glimpse of what the book is about – much like you’d discover from reading the back cover. If you’d like to see it, it is here:

 

 

And finally, if you’d like to follow my writing page on Facebook, you can find it here:

https://www.facebook.com/christycabewriter/

Thanks for your support, reader!

Happy Birthday, Book!

Christy

Together.

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The five of us knelt by the couch in our family room. Our hair was blonder and our skin more tan than three months before when summer began. Now it was the night before school started back in session. The eve of routine and alarm clocks.

My husband asked if I’d be the one to pray aloud for the family as we prepared for the next morning and new season of life. I agreed, but took a deep breath first as the thoughts of all the transitions to come filled my mind.

Our oldest child would be heading to middle school in the morning at a somewhat ungodly hour. Many days he’ll leave before the sun comes up. He had practiced his locker combination and reviewed his new schedule sufficiently, yet it felt like the unknowns still trumped our preparation.

Our middle child was off to second grade, where reading skills and independence increase at a surprising but encouraging rate. She’s turning into a little lady right before my eyes.

And the biggest transition that was looming over me and causing my shoulders to be tense with dreaded anticipation was sending our youngest child to Kindergarten. After twelve years of staying home full-time with my children, I felt a sadness about my impending empty day-time nest.

Finally I began to pray aloud. My voice quivered a few times as thanked God for His goodness and the gift of a wonderful summer. I had to swallow several times and clear my throat as I asked Him to guide our children this school year and to give them each the two things I most often request on their  behalf: wisdom and courage.

Wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it. 

As I said “Amen” my son glanced my way to verify his suspicion that I was holding back the tears. I shrugged and made small talk about getting up to bed. Transitions are hard enough for the kids without them realizing Mommy is about to melt.

Before they got their last drinks of water for the evening and headed up the steps we gathered in a circle and put our hands together. We were as ready as we could be to face the newness.

Now five days later with a week of school under our belts we’ve dealt with a few highs and lows. We’ve rejoiced about sitting next to best friends and eating really good middle school cafeteria lunches (really?). We’ve also had sobbing at the bus stop wishing for more days at home with Mommy. My heart and neck muscles have been wrenched even further. We’ve had excitement over new opportunities to play in the school band, and disappointment for getting scolding for taking too many grapes in the 2nd grade lunch line. Oh, the grapes of wrath!

But we have each other still.

We’ve got each other’s back and we’ve wiped each other’s tears. We’ve delivered forgotten items to the school and slapped each other on the back with joy over new successes.

And so dear family, my favorite home team, here’s to a great school year and to acceptance of all the transitions that comes our way.

May we have the wisdom to know how to live well, and courage to make it happen!


This post is linked up with the Five Minute Friday blogging community. Each Friday a one-word prompt is given here and bloggers are challenged to write for about five minutes about whatever come to mind based on the word. This weeks’ word: TEAM

 

 

Old News.

I call it the “preemptive strike.” I don’t actually say that term aloud, but I use it in my own head in order to feel like I am in some form of command as a mother. It sounds so official and impressive.

The preemptive strike will look something like this. At bedtime, I will inform my son about what he needs to know the following morning. Listen up, soldier.

“You have a basketball game tomorrow morning at 9:00. We need to leave our house at 8:30. Your uniform is washed and laying on the floor beside your dresser. Make sure you have eaten breakfast and you are in the van by 8:30.”

My son will look me in the eyes and nod his head with a look of apparent understanding. He does not salute me, but I feel the small nod is a good start. All signs point to an agreement between the two of us. Carry on.

Then the following conversation will occur approximately 12 hours later.

“Mom! Where is my basketball uniform?”

“Hey, Mom! What time is my game today?”

“When do we need to leave?”

The preemptive strike has fallen on a dry and barren land and has apparently left no sign of impact.

I smack my head (sometimes quite literally!) and answer his questions while making a mental note to abort all future preemptive missions.

Later in the week, I try a new tactic. I repeat and remind my son of something multiple times in order to give him more opportunities for intake. And then I hear,

“You already told me that. That’s old news.”

Perhaps I should turn in my dog tags.

I am caught between the land of “old news” and the land of “why doesn’t my mom ever tell me what’s going on.”

I’m considering calling a press conference in the morning to complain.

But then again, my son would miss it because he’ll be too busy looking for his basketball uniform.

———–

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday challenge, where a group of bloggers write for approximately five minutes after being given a one-word prompt. This week’s word was: News. To see more, click here. http://katemotaung.com

 

How Do You Teach Your Kids About The Bible?

Pastors’ kids. You know the ones.

Stereotypically, they come in one of two forms. Either they’re sporting black finger nail polish, tattoos, and piercings making them look as holey as Swiss cheese, or they’re the other kind of holy. Perfect little angels who have the New Testament memorized and have a rainbow-colored collection of WWJD bracelets.

I’m neither.

Thankfully.

However, I AM a pastor’s kid. But I’m not a kid anymore. I’m grown up, married and have three kids of my own.

But the stereotypes never seem to go away. And since I don’t wear black finger nail polish and my only piercings are in my ears, people think I grew up speaking Hebrew at age 4, baptizing Barbie and Ken in the sink, and playing Beatitude BINGO at birthday parties.

I hate to burst your bubble, but I am fairly normal. In fact, I grew up like most any kid. I played hide and seek, needed help with my math homework, and competed in school sports. Now I help my kids with their math homework (if I can figure it out!), put meals on the table (why do they want to eat every day?!) do laundry, and shuttle people to sporting events and birthday parties.

We really are quite normal. See?

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Being born into a pastor’s family doesn’t come with automatic Bible knowledge; you just have to spend more time at church.

So how did my parents teach me about the Bible? 

I get asked this question a lot along with the follow-up question:

How do you and Kraig teach your children the Bible?

So I thought I’d take a minute on the blog today to share a few ideas. Please understand that these are simply suggestions. Scripture makes it clear that we should be teaching the next generation about God and His Word, but there is no perfect “formula” or mandated devotional book we must use. If anyone tries to tell you there is, they must not have been paying attention in church.

So look at these ideas and thoughts as you would a buffet.

Take what your family likes and what you think they’ll digest. And you can even add other ideas å la carte. The important thing is that God’s Word is being passed on to future generations.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 reads:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

I’ve always loved this passage (I can clearly remember being asked to memorize it the summer after 4th grade at Vacation Bible School by a teacher wearing a “priestly bath robe” and homemade Israeli headdress.)

Basically, this passage is encouraging the people of Israel to do two things.

1. Love God and keep His commandments.

2. Teach their children to do the same.

It’s pretty simple, really.

According to this passage, the instructions for teaching your children are to make loving God and talking about Him a natural part of your lives.

Do you notice it doesn’t say you must have a “family devotional” time each night at 7:30?

Instead, it stresses that you talk about God and His commandments as you go about your life. It should be as natural to share about your faith with your kids as it is to share about their homework, their chores, or what they want for Christmas.

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Anybody can do it, even if you’re not a pastor’s kid.

Here are a few practical ideas.

“Talk about them when you sit at home…”

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Our family loves to talk at the dinner table. We often end up laughing with (and sometimes at) each other. It’s a joy. Not every conversation is spiritual, by any means, but sometimes while we’re “sitting at home” we can use a teachable moment. If a child is struggling in a relationship at school, we may ask them what they think God would want them to do in that situation. If they’re not sure, we’ll make a suggestion based on the Bible. As we pray for our meal and mention someone who is ill or in need, we’ll talk about what we could do as a family to help them and why we think the Bible says it’s important to care for others.

Growing up my parents often talked to me about the Bible while at home. My dad might say,

You know how you are having to make a hard choice with your friendships at school right now? Well, Daniel also had to make a hard choice when he was taken as a captive into Babylon. Daniel resolved to do what pleased God and then God blessed him for it. I hope you can resolve to do what you think God would have you do in this situation as well.”

It was a 15-second statement probably followed by, “Want to go down to the basement and play Ping-Pong?” but it became a natural thing for me to base my decisions on God’s Word.

“When you walk along the road…”

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I’ve told people that I believe some of my best Bible education did not happen in the classrooms of my Christian University, but instead in the middle seat of a white Toyota Previa minivan. Since our family preferred to drive down the road as opposed to walking as in the days of Deuteronomy, we used that car time to discuss many things. It wasn’t like we held official meetings or lessons, but we’d talk about God as we saw His beautiful creation out the window, or we’d play a game of Bible trivia where my parents would ask us questions and we’d make a game out of trying to shout out the answers.

The same is true today with my kids. We don’t do anything formal, but as we’re going along the road and pass an ambulance with its sirens blaring I’ll ask the kids if one of them would like to pray for the person who must be sick or hurt. We’ll pray aloud (I keep my eyes open while driving) and they each have taken turns lifting others up while heading down the highway.

“When you lie down…”

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What kid doesn’t suddenly want to talk when they’re being tucked into bed and Mom is flipping off the light? Bedtime can be a gold mine. I can remember talking to my Mom about all sorts of things when I was a little girl and she’d be tucking me in and sitting on the side of my bed. Those times are priceless and little hearts and ears can be tender as little eyes are getting heavy.

At our house, we do a Bible story every night before the kids go to bed.

But wait?!

I know what you’re thinking… I said earlier that the Bible does not mandate family devotions at 7:30 and yet that’s what we do. Am I a legalistic hypocrite?!

Let me explain.

The Bible does not mandate any particular method for teaching your children. BUT, it does indicate that it should be a natural part of your daily life. SO, it seems wise to put some habits in place for your family to help you get into a routine and practice of passing on God’s Word. It doesn’t matter what these routines look like or what time you do them.  You need to choose what works best for YOUR FAMILY.

We’ve chosen bedtime because it works for us. Here’s how we do the Bible story each evening.

We sit in the family room with the kids sprawled out on the floor or snuggled in one of our laps. My husband will read a Bible story out of a Children’s Bible and then we’ll ask the kids one or two questions about what we’ve just read to make sure they understood and were paying attention (they’re not perfect, sometimes they have no clue! Other times they surprise us by saying something profound.) Then we’ll read a Bible verse (our Children’s Bible provides a verse a week), and we’ll have the kids repeat it after us and try to memorize it by the end of the seven days. We add silly hand motions to help with memorization.

We started doing this about 8 years ago and we’ve now read through the entire Children’s Bible about 8 times. The book we use is called Every Day with God by Zondervan Press, but like I said, find one that fits your family! There are many great resources out there!

We also try to mix things up seasonally, so for Christmas time we’ll read the Christmas story each night instead (one year our kids memorized the entire chapter of Luke 2 – I’m not saying that to brag, but to remind you that many kids are amazing at memorization if challenged. They can do it and you’ll find yourself memorizing right along with them!) In the summer we’ll take a few weeks and try to memorize the Fruit of the Spirit and then we’ll ask the kids to give us an example of what it looks like to have “Love” or “Peace.”

And, I love that some of the last thoughts our kids have each night are focused on God and His Word.

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Oh, and sometimes we skip the Bible story at night. GASP! If it’s been a long day or we’re traveling we are ok with just putting the kids to bed without reading the Children’s Bible. We make sure that skipping it is the exception instead of the rule, but we don’t want to become legalistic about it. We want our kids to know that God is big on grace and He understands our weaknesses.

And incidentally, we’ve never been struck by lighting or hit with a plague of gnats when we skipped the Bible story.(We have found some large spiders in our basement, but I’m pretty sure they’re unrelated.)

“When you get up…”

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The other day my son astutely observed, “Mom, you’re not a morning person, are you?” No son, I’m not. So maybe I’m not the best one to be telling you about impressing God’s commandment on your children as you get up. I’m happy just to get some breakfast in them before the bus comes. But I think the point with this one is that each day as you get up, loving God and teaching your kids His commandments should be something you do automatically –like brushing your teeth.

“Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates…”

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The Hebrew people actually did these things. They would literally tie Scripture to their foreheads and write it on their doorframes. I’m pretty sure my kids would balk at the idea of tying a Bible verse to their hairline, so again, I look at the principle of this point. What can we put in place in our family’s lives that reminds them about God and His Word?

We have Bible verses in frames and on walls that my kids can’t help but see as they walk though our home. Maybe they’re “accidently” memorizing these verses, and maybe someday when they’re struggling, they’ll call one of them to mind.

I can remember seeing my parents’ Bibles when I was a child and seeing where they’d highlighted and written in the margins. I figured it must be important to them. My kids now see us doing the same. Maybe now we read Scripture on our iPhone, but we want them to see us reading God’s Word and model for them what we feel is so vital.

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There are so many methods and philosophies for teaching your children about God and His Word. I’m thankful that God has given us each unique personalities and unique children and that we have freedom to choose what works best for each of us.

Like I said, I’m pretty normal. Even growing up in a pastor’s home I’ve found that the best way to learn and teach God’s Word is just by living it. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

And thankfully you don’t even have to wear black nail polish or WWJD bracelets.

My Heart Will Go On.

Author Elizabeth Stone is quoted as saying,

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

I would add that watching the kindergarten-sized version of that heart get on the bus for the first time is just plain painful. At least it was for me.

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I will never forget the emotions that welled up inside of me the moment I saw that big, yellow beast come bellowing toward my son. Ok, maybe it wasn’t bellowing, but it was getting closer and closer. And when it stopped in front of us, with it’s little red stop sign flippantly waving hello, I thought I might be a goner.

How could my sweet little baby boy, the one who smelled like bath lotion and rice cereal, be walking up the bus steps? Did school really have to start today? Couldn’t we wait until after Christmas, or five or six more years? Is it really that important for our kids to know how to read and write and draw a triangle?

Yes, I guess it is important. But, as I watched the wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round with my baby boy inside I tried to hold back the tears. My husband, who was going into work late that morning so that he could be there to watch this momentous occasion, shook his head and grinned at me. He knew better than to say his thoughts out loud. Mommy is fragile right now. Handle with care.

But low and behold, my baby boy made it through his first day of kindergarten with flying colors. And what’s even more amazing; I survived too!

I guess it’s just like Céline Dion says; near, far, wherever you are… even if it’s off to your first day of a new season of life….my heart will go on!

 

8 Things My Dad Taught Me

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It happened again just recently. A new friend was asking about my family and when she learned that my dad was the pastor at a local church she said, “Oh! You’re Denny’s daughter?!”

Yep. I’m Denny’s daughter. I’ve been known that way all of my life.

It used to get on my nerves to be known as “Denny’s Daughter” instead of just as Christy. I have an identity outside of being the pastor’s kid, you know. But, I have to admit that being called Denny’s Daughter has grown on me over the years. It’s a title I’m honored to carry.

I’ve learned a lot from having my dad as my pastor for more than three decades. What a blessing it has been to sit under his ministry. However, it’s been even more of a blessing to grow up sitting around his kitchen table. Sure, I’ve learned things in church, but I’ve learned even more while riding in a Toyota Previa mini-van and while playing video games as a family in the basement as a teenager.

I’ve been so fortunate to grow up with such a wise dad. He’s taught me many things. And so today, in honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d sit down and list a few.

8 Things My Dad Taught Me

8. Trust Earns Freedom.

My Dad always told me that if he could trust me, then I could earn freedom to do what I wanted to do. For example, if I wanted to go places on my own after getting my driver’s license, then I could earn the right to do so in increasing measure. If I was told to only go to my friend’s house and then home again- I’d better follow the rules. If I did, then maybe next time I’d have the privilege to drive somewhere else as well. If I had a 10pm curfew and I respected the clock and got home on time, then I’d be given a later curfew in the future. It was pretty simple. If I could be trusted to follow directions, then I would be given more freedom over time. I always liked that, because I knew the opportunity for more freedom and privilege was possible and it made me desire to be responsible.

7. Get Your Head in the Game!

I have to admit (embarrassingly) that I can clearly remember my dad yelling this phrase to me during one of my middle school basketball games… and I had no idea what he meant! Get my head in the game? What on earth is he talking about? Of course now I understand that he was telling me to be mentally present on the court and to think about what I was doing. Where did I need to be? Where was the ball going to be next? How should I react to this play, that pass, that shot? I needed to be mentally present and not allowing my mind to be thinking about something else when I should be focused on the game at hand.

That advice has stuck with me long after my basketball career (and I use the term ‘basketball career’ very, very loosely!) I’ve often thought about hearing my dad yell “Get Your Head in the Game!” while working on various tasks throughout my life. Whether it be studying for a final in college, planning an event in my first job out of college, or having an important conversation with one of my children, I need to be mentally present and focused on the task at hand.

6. The Apple products don’t fall far from the tree.

We’ve always joked that my dad is so far on the cutting edge of technology that he’s bleeding. The man loves his technology and he LOVES Apple products. We were getting email in our house growing up (I can still hear that noisy old modem and the voice from AOL saying, “You’ve Got Mail!”) before most of society knew what email was. My dad talked me into buying an iPod before most bands had probably heard of iTunes. And, my dad gave me a laptop in college and encouraged me to carry it to class to take notes.

“Dad, that is so embarrassing!” I said. “Nobody else carries a computer to class!” But it turns out he was on to something there. It seems that now several (million) people have laptops and carry them with them on college campuses.

And Dad’s love for the Apple product has truly been passed on to me. What’s that other kind of computer called? Window something?

5. You are very special, but don’t think too highly of yourself.

Humility is a trait that I’ve always noticed in my dad. He’s not one to “toot his own horn” and I appreciate that about him. I remember being taught a lesson in humility from my dad when I was a freshman in High School. It’s a lesson I’ll never forget, and yet my dad didn’t even say a single word. He didn’t have to.

I was playing on the JV basketball team as a 9th grader, but one week the JV team didn’t have a game so I was bumped down to play with the Freshman Squad… at least “bumped down” was how I saw it. I was proud of the fact that I’d played JV and I was wrongfully quite full of myself during that freshman game. In fact, I’m embarrassed to tell you that during a time-out our coach called a huddle and I stood about 10 feet outside of the huddle thinking that I didn’t need to hear whatever it was that the coach had to say. (Ugh!) I remember tipping my head back to squirt my water bottle into my mouth and when I did my eyes drifting up into the bleachers. There sat my parents and my eyes locked with my dad’s eyes. Not a word was spoken verbally, but I could hear a paragraph’s worth of words coming from Dad’s eyes. That was all it took. I walked into the huddle and changed my attitude from that moment forward.

4. If the ship is sinking and there’s something we can do to help, we’re going to try to fix the problem… or we’re going down with the ship!

In the early years of my dad’s pastorate at our current church, the church building was tiny. As the church grew in membership it also needed to grow in size and so we experienced several building programs. I remember one time in particular that it had been announced that the new building and all of it’s sparkly new classrooms would be ready to open on a certain Sunday. The day before it was to open Dad got a phone call that things were almost ready, but there hadn’t been time to clean the carpets or new rooms and move in the furniture so we’d have to delay the opening for at least another week.

My dad told us to get in the van and off we went to spend a Saturday at the church. We vacuumed, cleaned, moved furniture and more to prepare the rooms, just in time, for church the next day. Dad told us that cleaning toilets was not below the senior pastor’s duty and if we could expend a little elbow grease to help the situation then we were going to do it. We were going to do something to help or go down trying. I’ve never forgotten that Saturday or the lesson I learned.

3. When in doubt, don’t.

I can remember my dad telling me that if I wasn’t sure about saying something or doing something, than I’d better not because it can never be taken back. I often take that into consideration before saying something I’m not 100% sure I should say. I think it’s saved me some heartache over the years and I’m grateful for that.

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Life is going to be rough if you can’t learn to laugh at yourself. And laughter is one thing I’ve certainly done… both with and at my dad.

One time when I was in college our extended family rented a house on a large lake for week. We decided to also rent some wave runners. All of the potential wave runner drivers had to go attend a short “class” and watch an instructional video about how to operate the wave runner. The video stressed multiple times that there are no brakes on a wave runner. You must stop pulling the throttle and allow time for the wave runner to slow to a stop. I repeat, there are NO BRAKES on a wave runner.

Yeah, yeah. We signed the papers and rented that thing and off we went. Dad was driving and I was riding along behind him. We were flying through the water and we went into a channel where there were several homes with piers in the water. Did I mention that we were going really fast? Did I also mention that they had stressed to us that the wave runner has no brakes. Well, apparently Dad didn’t catch that part because he drove us way too close to one of the piers and when he tried to brake (um… yeah, you know.) we SLAMMED into one of the pier’s wooden ladders and that ladder exploded. After we shook the shock out of our heads we looked around to see hundreds of pieces of wood floating on the water and a huge gaping hole where the ladder once was. Ooops.

We still laugh about that today. And I am thankful that I am alive to tell you about it. Seriously Dad, you’ve got to pay attention during the safety class next time. (And to whoever’s pier we crashed into… we’re sorry about your ladder.)

1. My dad is not perfect, but he’s taught me about my Heavenly Father, who is.

As I’ve written about before in “One of My Worst Moments,” my dad had the wisdom and courage to teach me the most valuable lesson of all during the worst moment of his life. His wife, my mom, had just died suddenly at our kitchen table at the age of 34. As we stood around her body in a sterile hospital room, my dad reminded me that God was still in control and that He loved us and had a plan for us. If God is good during the worst moment imaginable, then He is good. I can trust my Heavenly Father, and I do, because of my earthly father’s wonderful example in that moment and throughout my life.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you!

If You Give Your Grandma An iPad

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Perhaps you’ve heard of the lovely line of children’s books called the “If You Give” series. We personally own “If You Give A Mouse and Cookie” and “If You Give a Cat a Cupcake.” They are adorable circular tales in which you follow the consequences of what shenanigans would ensue if you were, to indeed, give a rodent a cookie.

Only they’re fictional.

The mouse in the book is wearing bib overalls and doing cute things like drawing pictures and sipping on a glass of milk. Obviously these books are not describing what would actually happen if you had a mouse in your kitchen. Let’s just say any mouse that would show up in my kitchen would not be shown quite this level of hospitality. No matter how cute it looked in its bib overalls.

But this is not a book report. I just felt the need to explain about this series of books because I’ve got an idea for a new title… although we’d have to switch the genre to non-fiction. Because this scenario is real, folks.

“If You Give Your Grandma an iPad.”

Now, I’m not here to cast blame, but I am not the one who actually gave my Grandma an iPad. The person who did shall remain nameless but they know who they are. And they happen to be related to both myself and my Grandma. And I call this person “Dad” (What?! I didn’t say his name.)

Anyway, thanks to my Dad’s generosity, my grandparents own an iPad. And they deserve any gift they’re given because my grandparents are some of the sweetest, most loving, and special people I’ve ever known.

They are in their 80’s, and are a part of what’s been called the “Silent Generation.” Their generation has been described as hard-working, loyal, supportive and patriotic. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something I’m guessing they’ve never been called… tech savy.

And that’s putting it nicely.

So in my imaginary new book, that I’d like to pitch to my imaginary editor, I’d describe the perils of being the granddaughter who lives the closest to the Grandma with the shiny new iPad. And the shenanigans that ensue. And by shenanigans I mean phone calls for help. And visits. And much entertainment. Because who said that non-fiction books can’t be funny. And believe me, this stuff is funny.

Grandma’s Facebook account alone has given me hours of entertainment. Sometimes when I need a good laugh I go over and help her clean out her “likes” on Facebook. Most people “like” businesses or pages that they want to read more about or have an interest in. Grandma apparently has a different strategy. She likes random things. A nail salon in Vermont, a mechanic in Nebraska, a church in Idaho, and she claims she has NO IDEA how they got on her page. I have explained to her that when you touch someone’s name on the iPad and then click “Like” that you are now “following them.” She nods her head and then calls me two weeks later with the same problem. Do you see how this could be written as a great circular tale?

One morning Grandma called and told me she’d hardly slept the night before because of Tony. “Who’s Tony?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she frantically said, “but he’s hardly wearing anything in his picture and what if someone thinks I really like him?!” So I logged on to Grandma’s account and found the scantily clad Tony… from West Seneca, New York, where we know no one… and clicked, “Unlike.” All was right with the world again.

Except maybe for Tony in West Seneca.

And I won’t even go into the perils of Grandma leaving comments on Facebook other than to say that I’ve gotten some phone calls for assistance once or twice. Or thirty-eight times.

Ahh yes, having Grandma on Facebook has been entertaining. But do you want to know what’s even better? Having Grandma on Facetime.

Facetime is pretty amazing. The fact that you can call someone and see them live on your screen as you talk to them is really fun. Especially if the person on the other end doesn’t know you can actually see and hear them.

Now before you think I’m cruel, and that I called Grandma on Facetime and tried to trick her, let me tell me what really happened.

She called me.

Kraig and I were sitting at home one evening, when all of the sudden, we get a Facetime request from Grandma. “Look here,” said Kraig. “This should be interesting.”

We accepted Grandma’s call and proceeded to see the bottom of her chin and the ceiling. She apparently had the iPad on her lap and had no idea that she’d called us on Facetime or that we could actually see and hear her.

It was epic.

We said things like “Grandma!!” “Hey Grandma! Look down here! Look at the iPad!” “Hey there! Yes, it’s us.” “ Can you see me Grandma? I can see you!”

I was almost in tears from laughter by the time she picked the iPad up and realized that we could, in fact, hear her and see her. She wasn’t pleased with us for apparently spying on her, and wouldn’t believe us that she’d been the one who actually called us. How dare we look at her when she’s wearing her housecoat and doesn’t have her hair done.

For the love of Steve Jobs.

I’m not holding my breath while waiting for Grandma to catch on to this modern world of technology. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s more likely that a mouse wearing bib overalls will show up in my kitchen. But I admit, I’m a little honored to be Grandma’s tech support. I think she really trusts me.

In fact, I realized recently just how much she trusts me when she approached me after church one Sunday with an urgent message. “Christy, when I die I want you to get rid of my Facebook.”

“Oh Grandma,” I said with a smile, “that’s when the fun really begins.”